News / Science & Technology

    Juno Spacecraft Launches Toward Jupiter

    The Juno spacecraft launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Friday, Aug. 5, 2011
    The Juno spacecraft launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Friday, Aug. 5, 2011

    The U.S. space agency launched the Juno spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Friday, beginning a five-year journey to Jupiter.  

    "3,2,1. Ignition and liftoff of the Atlas 5 [rocket] with Juno on a trek to Jupiter, a planetary piece of the puzzle on the beginning of our solar system," said a NASA commentator.

    Juno is now on its way toward Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.  NASA scientists hope this $1.1 billion mission will help them answer some key questions about the way Jupiter - and the solar system - evolved.  

    Jupiter is believed to have been the first planet to form in our solar system.  Juno's eight instruments will study Jupiter's magnetic and gravity fields, as well as the composition of the planet's atmosphere and its core.  

    Water is a varying factor in many theories about the way planets formed, and, by knowing the amount of water in Jupiter's planetary makeup, scientists can rule out some existing theories of planetary evolution.

    During the next five years, the solar-powered Juno will spin through space, beyond Mars and the asteroid belt.  

    Scott Bolton is the principal investigator in the Juno mission.  He told reporters at a pre-launch briefing that Juno will spend one year in polar orbit around Jupiter, beginning in 2016.  Juno will get closer to Jupiter than any spacecraft before it.  

    "We're only 5,000 kilometers above the cloud tops, and so we're skimming right over those cloud tops, and we're actually dipping down beneath the radiation belts, which is a very important thing for us because those radiation belts at Jupiter are the most hazardous region in the entire solar system, other than going right to the Sun itself," said Bolton.

    The Juno spacecraft has three solar arrays loaded with solar cells.  It is the first spacecraft to travel that far on solar, not nuclear, energy.

    The Italian Space Agency, as well as partners in Belgium, France and Denmark, contributed components to the Juno craft and instruments.

    Juno is also carrying a plaque that pays tribute to the famous Italian astronomer, Galileo Galilei, who made important discoveries about Jupiter and its moons in the 17th Century.

    Lest you think scientists who study Jupiter are all work and no play, they have placed three pocket-sized Lego figurines on Juno.  One represents Galileo, and the figurine even carries a miniature telescope.  The other two Lego figurines represent the Roman god Jupiter and goddess Juno.  According to mythology, Jupiter cloaked himself in clouds to hide his high jinks from Juno, but she was able to clear away the cloud cover to see just what Jupiter was up to - much like the Juno craft is expected to do.  

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.